Have you ever considered your impending obsolescence? Many societies revere the aged and the infirm, but America is a society that discards everything once it loses its luster. This is not confined to material goods. Old and sick people are shuttered up in homes. They are obsolete.
I’m reminded of an old Twilight Zone episode where a different kind of obsolete was dramatized. Burgess Meredith was “The Obsolete Man” because he was a librarian. Not just a librarian, but a bookworm who treasured his Bible.
His beliefs put him at odds with the State. He was to be liquidated because he served no purpose for the State. It’s chilling when he is sentenced to be executed for “serving no function.” It appears that this country is beginning to hold a similar view. That should be alarming even for the people “on the winning side.”
In this age of New Morality, promiscuity is encouraged and adhering to biblical values is not just considered old-fashioned. It is viewed as bigoted, narrow minded, and subversive.
Are we, as Christians, in danger of becoming obsolete? I think it is inevitable if we remain on this moral trajectory. We live in a world that is tolerant of all people except for Christians. That is a dangerous position to hold because the day may come where other groups are considered anachronistic.
Remember the conclusion of the episode where the Chancellor was declared obsolete? What if today’s accusers are denounced tomorrow?
This post is written in response to the Daily Post’s prompt Going Obsolete.
It’s a common question I ask people when they are about to try something new. The question is simple–“What’s the worst that could happen?”
I have yet to find a situation where the question is inappropriate. There’s the first day of kindergarten. How about the first day in basic training? Your attendance at a wedding or funeral is a good time to pose the question.
It is an evergreen question. A perennially appropriate query to make a determination as to whether or not this activity is worthwhile.
So, what is the worst that can happen? You could die. If that is true, everything else is gravy.
I hate breaking a sweat. Manual labor and I don’t get along. Monotony comes with driving a hammer or repairing a busted sewer pipe. The moment I start a task my mind starts screaming “Nooooooooo!”
I have fallen back on my radio broadcasting skills before, but honestly, you can make more money delivering pizzas. I spent many years teaching myself how to cook. That is something I enjoy, though.
If I was going to be stabbed in the neck with a drywall saw if I refused to pick a skill I wish I had–I would choose mechanic. I could wear a shark skin suit and tell everyone I’m the mechanic for Vinny the Knife. Wait. Wrong mechanic. I’m not looking for 20 to life. And I’m not tough like Charles Bronson. And he’s dead.
I have a few automotive skills. I’m certainly not competent enough to sell my services. Not even as a shade-tree mechanic. Those are very good skills to have and will be highly sought after the zombie apocalypse. I can imagine all kinds of broken machinery that only a skilled mechanic can bring to life.
I just changed my brakes the other day. It’s usually a simple job. When a rotor is stuck and you try to knock it loose with a framing hammer, it’s time to get mad. That’s what I hate about automotive work. Crowbars, hammers, even hitching a team of draft horses are sometimes needed to bust a part loose. I can’t stand that. Those equines won’t work unless you feed them and that gets expensive.
I could also be a mortician. Not that I would want to learn that trade, but it’s practical. Your customers don’t complain if you eat a ham sandwich while you do whatever ghastly things a mortician does. It would be a difficult job with my sensitive nose. Who wants to smell dead people?
There will never be a shortage of dead people (thanks to those meddling zombies) and machines, so there will always be a market for morticians and mechanics. I get queasy at the sight of coagulated blood and liquified organs, so I’d rather be a mechanic.
I get bored easily. I’m the kind of guy that wants minimum detail in a conversation so I can resume my daydreams of pancakes. You know those unnecessary details. They often accompany the phrase, “to make a long story short…” If you hear those words, the story is already too long.
I can’t help it. When a conversation starts, my brain checks out. It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to. “I’m sorry, Officer. Did you say I was smuggling elephants and chocolate bars?” His reply would be something like, “I said I’m writing you a citation for running a red light.” I would naturally respond with, “What does that have to do with elephants?” Now it’s time for the breathalyzer.
I have the attention span of an epileptic goldfish. Oh, and my hearing sucks. I have a tendency to repeat what I hear to confirm. What I hear always sounds preposterous. Heather may ask me to fold some laundry. I just heard that my wife shot up with a dirty needle. I didn’t even know she did drugs.
When I’m locked in an epic struggle, I can hear myself in my head. I’m always saying things like, “I sure hope they don’t notice that my eyes are glazed over,” or “I need to pick up some crackers at the store.” I affirm that I am engaged in the conversation by nodding my head. That head nodding trick works pretty well. If I’m found out…well, I just stumbled onto some conflict.
It’s not that I don’t want to listen. It’s just that I keep conversations concise. Minimal detail. More words mean more work expended. My brain can only handle so much.
I know that the details are extraneous. When I see a flower, I see a lovely yellow tulip receiving a Lilliputian hummingbird quaffing sweet nectar. I say, “Look, a tulip.” Then I start thinking about pancakes.
Do you know what it’s like to be hooked? I do. No, I’m not a meth addict, though this habit is equally as difficult to kick. I get hopped up on cookies.
The above clip has nothing to do with cookies, but Christopher Walken’s fever for more cowbell is a perfect illustration for my fever for cookies.
I love the chewy goodness of chocolate chip cookies. I like crunching down a fistful of Oreos. It doesn’t matter. I’m the worst kind of fiend. I’m indiscriminate.
Normally, I can keep my cool as Girl Scouts peddle those too-small boxes. How long can twelve cookies last? One sitting.
This year I was ensnared by the Samoa. I eat them every year. I usually eat four or five cookies and move on. I consumed seven boxes this year. Seven. I know, those seven miniature cookie boxes translate to maybe two boxes of Chips Ahoy, but you can’t get Samoas at Circle K. You have a small window every year.
I gorged myself on these cookies until the craving disappeared. I only wish I had the luxury to taper off. I should have gotten more of those cookies and hid them in the lampshade.
My wife sometimes asks me to change into other “outfits,” and I have to remind her that I’m a dude. Dudes don’t wear outfits. I had that same conversation with my mom when I was a kid. Still, these conversations take place and I’m usually asked to change into something less embarrassing before we leave for church.
My wife claims that I have no matching skills. I have to remind her that I have mad matching skills. Mad. Matching. Skillz. If your skills reach a certain level of madness, you get to use the ‘z’ in skillz. To give an example of this impressive skill, I have a pair of plaid baby blue shorts I purchased for five bucks at Walmart. Normally, I would never wear a wuss color like that, but I’ll make an exception if it’s cheap.
When I complete my “outfit,” I’ll wear a plaid shirt, or even a plaid jacket with those shorts. I’m told that two different colors in plaid pattern don’t match. I have to respectfully disagree as plaid matches all other plaid. You just can’t mix plaid and paisley.
I don’t see the big deal. Who cares what I look like. I dress in the dark. I’ve even squeezed into one of my wife’s shirts once. That’s one of the hazards of dressing in the dark. Sometimes people stare at me, but I just assume that they are stunned by my good looks. Nothing says attractive like the five day shadow that looks identical to an awkward fifteen year old’s six month shadow.
Some people just rock the wispy chemo beard look. Stunning.
It’s been about five years since the last time I was on the air. For most of my adult life, I was either in radio or wanted to get back in the business. Just so you know, I haven’t missed it these five years. I’m glad to be out.
All in all, I spent about twelve years as a disc jockey (much of that was spent at 99X in Shreveport). I guess that title has been obsolete for around fifteen years since music libraries have transitioned from compact disc to hard drive. For all I know, there are radio stations that “cloud broadcast.”
Broadcasting was a profession that didn’t come naturally to me. I had a lisp that I finally corrected in broadcasting school and any manner of public speaking was unpleasant.
It was nice being a local celebrity. Everyone knew me, but I maintained my anonymity as radio guys aren’t normally recognized or discovered except at station promotions. Generally speaking, I hated being found out. That meant I had to engage in some inane conversation. That conversation usually revolved around being on the radio or some crazy thing I did on the air.
Trust me, crazy was commonplace when I was on the air. Actually, it was utter depravity on the air. Come on, I went by Naked Jake. I wasn’t some Hot AC jock pandering to a thirty-four year old female audience. I was at an Active Rock station where my shenanigans continually had me in hot water.
Looking back at my career, I’m shocked and ashamed of what I had become. The ratings were killer. I should have stayed in country radio where I probably would have remained “respectable.” Then again, if I didn’t come unglued at a rock station, I wouldn’t have my wife or my children. I actually met Heather eleven days after I signed on. So, some good did come from those days.
Friends still try to dredge up old stories. I just shake my head at my stupidity and change the subject.
I thought I wanted to be famous. I thought I could dance in the darkness unscathed.
Then again, I guess I am famous. I’m on Wikipedia. That’s funny. I only worked there a few months before I got canned. That was my last full time radio gig.
Who decided that procrastination is wasting time? Relaxing is key to my creative process. I realize I need to relax more than others, but I’m results driven. It doesn’t matter what task is at hand. I just happen to know that even simple tasks like cleaning toilets require two or three days of preparation.
The way I see it, if I remain productive I never have time to take it easy. There is always something to be done. Some people, like your boss, may say you are wasting time, but I say you are biding your time, or you are analyzing potential outcomes. I like that one. It sounds technical.
I was a quality technician at a manufacturing plant. It’s the perfect job. There really is no work to complete, you just have to create the illusion that you are working. If you have a clipboard and occasionally scrawl some incoherent scribbles people will leave you alone. When you are wandering around the plant to stretch your legs, management thinks you are on a mission. That daydreaming on the loading dock appears to be important work. Because it is. You are analyzing potential outcomes.
This method can be expanded if you adopt the Wimpy Model. He wants hamburgers now. He promises to pay Tuesday. It’s simple. Make your demand. Make empty promises about future repayment. Just don’t try it on your spouse.
Philosopher Garth Brooks posited the idea that there may be instances where tomorrow never comes. (I think he was singing about a woman, but if you twist hard enough, you can make anything support your argument). If tomorrow does come, I hope you were thinking about the task at hand while watching ‘Judge Judy,’ because you’re out of time.
(I have to thank the staff at The Daily Post for triggering Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ in my brain. This will confound me for a couple of days just like when ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ by Cher was unleashed. Well played, Daily Post.)
My favorite way to express myself is through cooking. Who doesn’t like cooking? Apparently a lot of people. My mom was a good cook. I say was as if she is no longer among the living. She is a good cook. I usually get to enjoy her food around Thanksgiving.
Around June, she will ask me what I want to eat. Since we stay three days, there is room for more than turkey. Chicken and dumplings usually hit the list. So do pork chops, egg salad, seafood dip, and whatever else I can get her to make. Still no salmon patties. I may have to resort to threats.
The short order cooking adventure is always surprising as my mom hates cooking. She despises it. As long as I remember she has always hated cooking. I never watched her cook. I never learned her techniques. This skill is mostly self-taught.
I believe I mentioned couch surfing for a couple of years. My friend who lent me his couch was also kind enough to let me watch him cook. I watched. And watched. When I got tired of watching, I watched some more. That’s all I ever did there. I remember I was allowed to stir gravy a couple of times. Woohoo! Actually, I was really jazzed. It took me years to get the gravy just right. It’s simple to make, but it is more art than flour and oil.
Sixteen years later, my fanaticism has only grown stronger. Yesterday, my wife told me that she lost the three pounds that she gained from my recent cake spree. She likes my food. I have friends who take phenomenal pictures who will shoot my food in exchange for a meal. This would be a bad trade if I made them a pan of Hamburger Helper.
The past two years I have spent volunteering with Mercy Chefs, and now I have finally decided to try my hand at catering. Hence, the name Cater It Forward. We have a long way to go on, well, everything. There is a lot more to this business stuff than slinging hash.
Making an income is secondary. The original plan was, and still is, to cater to raise money so I can afford to deploy with Mercy Chefs. The organization is 100% volunteer. This business can help earn gas money, hotel accommodations, airplane tickets, whatever I need so I can serve others through Mercy Chefs.
This organization has been to Africa. I went to with Mercy Chefs. My good chef friend was in the Philippines recently to provide aid.
Am I starting to sound like a shill? Sorry about that. With all of this cooking, I think of that 80’s drug PSA. Or was it the nineties.
“I do coke. So I can work longer. So I can earn more. So I can do more coke.” Cue the sad trombone: Wah wah wah waaaah. The infinite cocaine loop.
I cook. So I can serve others. So I can do more coke cook. It’s not perfect, but I hope I was able to illustrate my point.
(Featured image was a result of bartering food. My good friend Josh shot the image).
Music seems to be center stage to fuel one’s moods. Everyone seems to know the best music to shake the blues. Johnny Cash tells us to throw our blues in the Gulf. Johnny’s music generally frequents my CD player while I’m on the road. Who needs the blues when you are cruising down the road with a belly full of Corn Nuts?
If you want to beat the blues with brute force, there are numerous bands to choose from, but I like Static-X complete with robot imagery. Robots like to rock. They don’t get depressed. Besides, if you had hair like Wayne Static, could you possibly get depressed? I think not.
Since we are talking about robots, we cannot ignore Powerman 5000. Frontman Spider One, with his futuristic getup and wonky stares, must be used for taming robots. Melancholy moods are obliterated with angry music. It usually won’t make you David Banner angry, but be forewarned. Some consumers of this music are those gangster wannabes with their mean face and their intimidating swagger like they have a tricycle wheel for a foot. You can find them at Circle K wearing their discount leather jackets asking strangers to buy them a pack of smokes.
If you can’t chase the blues off with anger, maybe you can scare it off. Spider One and his brother, Rob Zombie, grew up on a diet of horror movies. If you aren’t scared by Rob Zombie, you’ve got to be one of those scary robots he hangs out with.
When I have an especially bad case of the blues, I have to find some music that makes me dance spontaneously. Dave Matthews Band fits the bill. Plus, Dave likes to make up words. It’s like listening to Bill Cosby shill Pudding Pops.
It’s clear. If you have the blues you need to find some robots.
You may have noticed all of this music is a bit dated. I’ve been out of radio about five years and I’m not hip and relevant. It’s been another lifetime since I was concerned with the latest tunes.